Work has started on Providence Island to provide the island with a concrete airstrip, in order to open up the island to development.
Providence Island is at the northern limit of the Farquhar group and lies 330 miles from Mahé, with an area of 157 hectares. At present it can only be accessed by boat and this has severely limited its development.
Providence was run as a copra island from the middle of the 19th century up until 2006, when cyclone Bondo destroyed most of the buildings and about 60% of the coconut trees. It was the last island of Seychelles to cease commercial copra production.
IDC built a grass airstrip on the island following the cyclone, but this proved to be too unstable for aircraft because of the very fine sand that exists there. No extra funds were available at the time to put in a hard surface, and thus the island was abandoned as without a proper landing strip no tourism development was possible.
However earlier this year, discussions were held with President’s Office for the government to partly fund the installation of the hard surface, and SR 5.0 million was approved by the National Assembly within the supplementary budget in October.
IDC has thus brought in a construction crew late last month and since then, the workers have been clearing the previous landing strip of casuarina and coconut trees which have colonised the area. Progress has been quick and most of the 1300 m runway has now been cleared of vegetation. The strip is already level – because of the previous work done in 2008/2009 and concreting will start during the course of next week.
A presence is definitely required on this island as it is presently a haunt for poachers and the atoll is also probably used as a transit point for drugs. The southern islands of the Providence group (Cerf Island) is only some 180 nautical miles from Madagascar.
Once the new airstrip is in place, IDC will set up the village for its staff and prepare for a tourism development project. The surrounding reef flats are known to be a world-class destination for fly-fishermen. A viable fishing venture can also be considered as the area surrounding the various reefs is rich in commercial species.
IDC will actually launch the Expression of Interest for businesses interested in developing a tourism project on Providence soon.
President Danny Faure has visited the newly completed block of condominiums for first-time home owners and the block of luxury apartments which is still under construction at Perseverance.
This was in the presence of the Chief Executive of the Green Island Construction Company (GICC), Glenny Savy.
The condominium project was initiated for first-time home buyers and is a joint-venture between GICC and the government.
President Faure visited both blocks and was able to meet and interact with the tenants who have already moved into their three-bedroom apartments housed in the first-time home owners block.
Mr. Savy says the luxury apartments will be sold at a higher price and the profit generated will be used to cross–subsidise first-time home owners’ apartments so they can be sold at a more affordable price.
Luxury apartments are priced at R5 million while three-bedroom apartments for first-time home owners are priced at R1.5 million and two-bedroom apartments at R1.2 million.
The cost of construction for the three-bedroom apartment block aimed at first-time home owners is around R20 million.
“In the apartment for first-time home owners, there are three bedrooms and we will soon start construction on the other four blocks which will consist of three-bedroom apartments and we will have five blocks of two-bedroom apartments,” Mr. Savy said.
The first-time home owners’ blocks are reserved for Seychellois nationals who do not already own land or private property and they will be unable to sell the apartment for a period of 15 years.
However, anyone is free to buy luxury apartments.
“Some people can buy it as an investment so maybe they can rent it out. there are no restrictions on luxury apartments and an applicant can buy and rent or sell at their own discretion,” Mr. Savy explained.
In terms of security, the entire compound will be totally fenced for the security of the home-owners. it will also be gated and there will be controlled access as well as an electronic house to enter the apartments.
Mr. Savy expressed that there has been a high-level of interest in the properties but that some applicants do not have the required 10 percent in savings to access a bank loan.
When the South East trade wind starts sweeping the Seychelles beaches with strong and cold wind, Goëlettes Island (part of the Farquhar Atoll) gets ready to host its annual visitors.
Pest-free, treeless and carpeted with grass, Goëlettes is the perfect place for ground nesting seabirds such as Sooty Terns (Golet in kreol) and Brown Noddies (Makwa in kreol), which, starting from the end of April/beginning of May, gather in great numbers on the island and blacken the sky of this piece of paradise.
More than half a million seabirds return to Goëlettes once again with only one objective: find a mate and successfully rear a chick, which will carry their lineage on to the next generation of birds.Despite the welcoming environment of Goëlettes island, rearing a chick is anything but easy for the Sooty Tern that have to face different challenges to successfully complete its breeding attempt.
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The remote island of Alphonse is now completely powered by the largest photovoltaic farm in Seychelles, meaning diesel fuel is no longer needed to make electricity, said a top official of the Islands Development Company.
A total of 2,220 dual glass high-efficiency solar panels have been installed on 0.7 hectares of land -- half towards the east and the other half towards the west -- to produce electricity for the whole island.
The project is an initiative of the Islands Development Company (IDC) as a source of alternative energy to cut costs and reduce the amount of heavy diesel fuel used to power two electricity generators on the island. The project will also help to protect the environment from pollution.
The IDC’s chief executive officer, Glenny Savy, said that the project is a real cost efficient project which will save the island a lot of money.
“For the past months only five barrels of fuel has been used to power the standby generators as compared to five and seven barrels of fuels used every day previously," said Savy.
Located 400 kilometres southwest of Mahe, the main island, the Alphonse atoll is part of the Alphonse group which also includes St. Francois and Bijoutier. The atoll has a single resort comprising of beach bungalows and suites.
The green energy project is a combination of the solar panels and lithium batteries for storage that has resulted in covering 90 percent of the island’s energy use. The solar panels produce around 800 kilowatts of electricity per day, more than half above the normal total electricity used every day on the island.
Savy said that this initiative will not only save money going towards fuel consumption but also that which is going towards the transportation of fuel to the island.
“IDC is making a profit on the electricity that it is producing by selling it. The money will go towards infrastructure development on the island,” said Savy.
Financed by a South African company, Mettle Solar Investments, the PV farm cost $1.5 million. IDC has injected a total sum of $37,000 (SCR500,000).
The Minister for Environment, Energy, and Climate Change, Wallace Cosgrow, said that the project is one that other islands can follow as well as Mahe, which can one day be fully powered by renewable energy.
Aside from Alphonse, a similar PV farm will be set on Astove and Farqhuar islands by March 2019 and the bigger one on Desroches island by July next year. By early 2020 all islands under the management of IDC will be 90 percent powered by green energy.
Seychelles -- a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean -- relies heavily on imported fossil fuel for power generation and transportation. Currently, only 2.5 percent of the island nation's electrical energy is from renewable sources.
The 2.5 percent is expected to increase to 5 percent in the coming three years with several renewable energy projects.
Seychelles is also planning to install Africa’s first utility-scale Floating Solar Photovoltaic system on the lagoon at Le Rocher, in the district of Les Mamelles.
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The last day of September saw the reopening of the Anse Mondon trail on Silhouette island.
On this occasion, a group of notable Seychellois personalities, Hilton guests and staff and IDC staff, accompanied by the press were present to inaugurate the trail.
Ms. Michelle Murray, the Chief Executive Oﬃcer of Island Conservation Society had the honor of cutting the ribbon symbolizing the oﬃcial reopening of the trail.
This was followed by a hike lead by the General Manager of Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa, Mr. Andre Borg.
The three-kilometre-long hike leads through the lush rain forest towards the north of the island and oﬀers an amazing view over Silhouette’s wild coastline and the bay of Anse Mondon.
Islands Development Company (IDC), Island Conservation Society (ICS) and Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa have been working side by side for many months to ensure the safety of the hiking trail while trying to protect the island’s many endemic plants and animals.
New signboards for guidance and information about flora & fauna have been erected along the trail for hikers and nature lovers to discover the stunning sights and spectacular views.
Anse Mondon is one of three trails on Silhouette.
The development plan stipulates IDC’s priorities and targets for the next five years with details of existing services, the current state of the islands and future plans.
Speaking to the press, IDC’s Chief Executive Officer, Glenny Savy said that the main objective for the next five years is to establish infrastructure on the islands of Providence and Cosmoledo which are currently inhabited.
“Our priority is to build an airfield on Providence. The island is inhabited since cyclone Bondo struck in 2006 causing significant damage. There has always been to have a runway on Providence but IDC did not have the financial resources for such a project. The sand composition on Providence is extremely fine and thus we need to have a hard surface,” explained Mr. Savy.
The project is expected to be completed by June 2019 at a cost of R14 million. The government has contributed R5 million towards the project, while IDC will finance the remaining R9 million.
Once the airfield is complete other infrastructure will be established on the island.
A second island which IDC is proposing to develop is Cosmoledo which will also be equipped with a runway and certain infrastructure.
“Every island is quite different. There are islands under our responsibility which we have decided to keep in its natural state. For instance, Farquhar is a group of islands and we only plan to develop one while the others will be left in their natural state,” Mr. Savy said.
He added that some islands are ideal for agriculture, others for tourism purposes while others are most suited to aqua-culture.
IDC has already drawn up four land use plans for Coetivy, Desroches, Poivre and Farquhar detailing what activities will take place on each island. In addition, IDC will tender out some of the work to the private sector.
“Individuals and companies in the private sector who may be interested in developing the islands or undertaking activities there such as tourism, agriculture or aqua-culture will have an opportunity to do so.”
A search and rescue operation has started to locate the missing crew of the Sea Horse following a fire on board the vessel in the early hours of the morning.
The cargo vessel operated by Islands Development Company (IDC) left Mahe on Friday with fuel and food supplies for the Prison Services on Coetivy.
The vessel, which was being manned by a crew of 5 arrived on the island yesterday evening and remained on anchor some 200 metres from the shore, waiting for the high tide to start offloading the cargo. This was planned for today.
Thus far, only one crew member has been found and according to information he provided the fire started on the cargo deck.
Upon noticing the fire, he jumped into the sea and swam towards the island and while he was swimming he was picked up by one of the boats from the island.
The island personnel continued searching for the remaining crew members until the arrival of the military Dornier for search and rescue assistance.
Actually, an IDC plane and a military plane are searching the areas around Coetivy island for the missing crew members. 3 boats from the island are also helping in the search, while the Coast Guard is displacing its naval vessels to assist in the search.
IDC has also sent its medical personnel to Coetivy, in the early hours of this morning.
IDC is in touch with all family members of the crew.
Perseverance Point Condominium being developed by Green Tree Investment Company Ltd, a subsidiary of GICC, in partnership with the Ministry of Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport, welcomed its first residents last week. The owners were presented with the keys to their homes during a ceremony held on site on Saturday 11th August 2018.
This block comprises of 10 three-bedroom apartments furnished with built in wardrobes, vanities for the bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, a cooker, washing machine and solar water heaters. In addition, DSTV connection has also been installed.
The new homeowners have expressed great satisfaction with the quality of work on the units and the amount of living space available, which they claim is great value for money.
Construction work on a second block of three bedroom apartments for young professionals first time home buyers has started and the first two-bedroom block is expected to start in December 2018.
From then on, new blocks will be built as and when the Ministry confirms buyers for the units. Once all the blocks are completed, the Condominiums will be within a gated and secured estate with proper management of the common areas through a Management Corporation set up with all the buyers and the developer. Each unit will have one parking bay, while additional parking space will be available for visitors.
A three-bedroom unit for graduates and professionals in the first block is being sold at SR. 1.5 million and a two bedroom at SR. 1.2 million. The floor area for a three-bedroom apartment is 130 m² and the two bedroom is 102 m².
The Estate will also comprise of furnished luxury condominium units for the open market and the mock up should be ready for viewing by October 2018.
IDC are currently looking to fill a number of job vacancies within the company. For more information please click below.